500 Tacos: Pueblo Viejo
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
907 E. Sixth St. (map), 512-373-6557
Hours: 7:30am-5pm Mon-Wed; 7:30am-midnight Thu; 7:30am-2:30am Fri-Sat; 9am-3pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.20.15
The sausage savant who gave us the late, great Goldis Sausage Co. trailer is a man without culinary fear. I saw that firsthand the day I made sausage with Keenan Goldis, grinding boerewors from scratch with heart and soul — and cheek and liver and tongue. But still, Goldis was uneasy about trying chicharrones from Pueblo Viejo, the trailer with which he once shared a parking lot. But Pueblo Viejo made a believer out of Goldis. And because I believe in Keenan Goldis, I’m ready to exorcise my own chicharron demons.
The taco: Chicharron en salsa verde
Chicharrones can be a scary thing, because so many taquerias turn the golden glory of fried pork rinds into a heaving mass of protoplasm and cilantro. Pueblo Viejo leaves a little crunch in the pork skin, cooking it just long enough to let a tart salsa verde work its way in. They’re spicy, steaming hot and still somehow crisp along the ridges, leaving the centers firm and chewy. ($3)
► Taco Nes: You’ll hear this one ordered over and over, a blend of chewy grilled steak and mild ground chorizo, with cooked onions and cilantro. It’s named for Nestor, the man who cooks it. ($3.25)
► Taco next: On the weekends, Pueblo Viejo is open when the bars let out, the perfect time for breakfast, which they serve morning, noon and night. Make it a Taco Azteca, with eggs, strips of fried salty ham, chopped fresh jalapeños and refried beans to hold it together, probably more than we can say for you ($2.50). Al pastor’s a good choice, too, with pork marinated in tangy achiote and grilled with pineapple ($3).
► Make it a plate: For $8.99, you get any two tacos with refried beans and good guacamole with chips. With Taco Nes and an al pastor taco, it’s a solid value.
► Tortillas: With their tortillas coming from El Milagro right across the street, Pueblo Viejo could almost say they make tortillas in their own kitchen. But not quite. The doubled-up yellow corn beats the stiff flour anytime.
► Salsa: There’s a sweet and mild onion-tomato red and a dry-hot habanero orange. But if you’re going to fear anything at Pueblo Viejo, don’t fear the chicharrones; fear the molten-brown roasted habanero.
► The menu: Pueblo Viejo doesn't have a website with a menu. Find the menu here
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)